Posted on: September 6, 2011 11:46 am
Edited on: September 6, 2011 11:49 am
Since I didn't get around to predicting the BCS bowls before the season actually started, let's just call this a BCS bowl preview (after one week).
BCS championship in New Orleans: Alabama* vs. Oklahoma*
Did nothing in Week 1 to change my opinion of the two best teams in the country.
Rose Bowl: Oregon* vs. Wisconsin*
Oregon suddenly not a prohibitive favorite in the Pac-12.
Fiesta: Texas A&M vs. Stanford
Fiesta gets supposed Heisman winner (Andrew Luck) against Big 12 runner-up.
Sugar: LSU vs. Florida State
Tigers make it back to Sugar, but not the big one.
Orange: West Virginia* vs. Virginia Tech*
Tech makes a return trip to South. Mountaineers giddy over return to BCS bowl.
--One reason why we saw all those games delayed or postponed by weather:
Lawyers, or the threat of them if even one person was injured, never mind or killed. Our society is so litigious that even one person slipping on a staircase could cost a school millions. That's why you saw 80,000 people evacuated from stadiums in a short period of time. It's obvious by the speed at which these teams were cleared that schools have prepared for this occurrence.
I can remember seasons when we didn't see this many weather-related delays. Now schools are erring on the side of safety. Who can blame Notre Dame for clearing the stadium twice after it lost a student videographer last season?
--Give Miami's Al Golden credit for not whining about his predicament at Miami.
"Eight of the 110 kids on our team had a significant issue for something they did three years ago?" Golden said. "We're moving on right now. I've been to the deepest depths in the NCAA."
Those depths would have been inheriting a roster with 54 scholarship players at Temple as well as NCAA and APR problems. The difference, as Golden has pointed out, Temple was shooting for a winning record. Miami wants to win championships.
--Yes, it's early and it probably means nothing but here's where you'll find last year's returning Heisman finalists in the current NCAA stats after one week.
Andrew Luck, Stanford: The Heisman runner-up threw for a modest 171 yards against San Jose State in a 57-3 blowout. He is 39th overall in pass efficiency.
LaMichael James, Oregon: Not listed in the top 100 after rushing for 54 yards in 18 carries against LSU. In his last two games, both against SEC superpowers, James has rushed for 103 yards on 31 carries.
Kellen Moore, Boise State: 21st in passing efficiency after completing 28 of 34 against Georgia. How does that get him to 21st after one of the biggest wins in Boise State history? Think of it this way: Moore is first on that list among quarterbacks who played a BCS-conference opponent in the first week.
--Weird stat of the week: Of Oregon's 83 scoring drives last season, it was forced to go more than 11 plays only five times. Oregon had to go 79 yards in 19 plays to score its first touchdown of the season against LSU. What looked at the time like a turning of the tide against the Tigers, turns out to be another reason to like LSU's defense.
--Baylor isn't likely to lose in the month of September. After this week's bye, the Bears have Stephen F. Austin and Rice at home. The conference opener is Oct. 1 at Kansas State and that's looking easier by the moment.
Look for more deserved Baylor hype. The Bears could be 5-0 heading into Texas A&M on Oct. 15.
--Way too early Heisman ballot:
1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Best quarterback in the Big 12 after beating TCU. Felt like Friday Night Lights in Waco.
2. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU: It's good to have a playmaker. It's great to have a playmaker on defense. It's almost impossible to have a game changer in the secondary.
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Now, only the NFL has to take notice.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 10:48 am
NCAA Football 12 is out today and I'm jacked. Hope the feeling is mutual because college football needs a break. The sport has been dipped in controversy, cheating, lawyers and courts too long this offseason. We need us some cfb even if it is from a PS3.
Quick background: For those of you who don't know, NCAA Football 12 is a video game. It is more addicting than 30 Rock depicting the thrills, detail and game day experience. This year's edition is the best yet. The Coaching Carousel function puts coaches on the hot seat. The new version includes the ability take the BCS out of the equation. That fantasy alone should be worth the $60 price. A MAC team can play in the Rose Bowl. The Big East can be kicked out of the BCS.
Think of the possibilities:
--Can't wait to play Ohio State in "shame" mode. That's assuming I can navigate my way through the "having a conscience" function to access the Buckeyes.
--Miami (Ohio) in the Rose Bowl. The RedHawks have never won a national championship in anything. Ever. This streak goes back a couple of centuries to when the school was founded. This being a video game is it possible Paul Brown (Class of '30) could jump on the dog pile if Miami beats USC for the national championship?
--Will asking the game to assemble the current membership of the WAC crash my PS3? Don't even try to sort out Legends and Leaders.
--If the Big East is cut out of BCS will West Virginia start an ugly rumor about the game's creator having a "reputation of being a partier"?
--Mascot mode must: Delanys vs. Slives.
--There has to be a seven-on-seven function where gamers start with $10,000 in funny money and can pay it out to players any way they want. Will Lyles could narrate the tutorial.
--In light of the upheaval at Ohio State and deadlines for the game's production I'm really interested in who will be coaching the Buckeyes. Mike Leach is available.
--Need input, gamers: Jordan Jefferson on EA: Cotton Bowl version or spring-game version?
--Does Texas Tech include Craig James on the sidelines or not?
--Where's the Pac-12 Network button?
--It seems only fitting that Mark Ingram graces the cover of this year's game. A tailback who won the Heisman in 2009 is pimping a fantasy version of the 2011 season marketed as NCAA 12.
Some things never change. In what might be an EA first, it is featuring a player whose school is currently on probation. Since 1987, Bama has been involved in more major football infractions cases (three) than national championships (two).
In this offseason of sleaze, there are some things you can't escape.
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:29 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2011 3:01 pm
West Virginia is in negotiations to buy out embattled coach Bill Stewart, The Sporting News reported Thursday night, citing a source.
Coach-in-waiting/offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen would be elevated to head coach. Asked to confirm the report, Mountaineers AD Oliver Luck replied via text, "I can't comment."
The coaching staff had recently been investigated by Luck, who was trying to determine the source of what were termed "leaks" disparaging Holgorsen in recent newspapers accounts. The school said there were "blatant inaccuracies" in a report that Holgorsen had been involved in three to six alcohol-related incidents in the past few months.
A former Pittsburgh newspaper reporter said this week during a radio interview that Stewart urged him to "dig up dirt" on Holgorsen.
Had Stewart been fired after last season, the school would have owed him $2.5 million. Instead, the school hired Holgorsen from Oklahoma State, made him the coach-in-waiting and adjusted Stewart's contract. This would have been Stewart's final season as head coach. Holgorsen was to take over in 2012.
Stewart, 59, was the toast of Morgantown 3½ years ago when he beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. That night he was elevated to head coach following Rich Rodriguez's departure for Michigan. Stewart has won 28 games -- nine in each of the past three seasons, plus the Fiesta Bowl.
Posted on: December 7, 2010 4:07 pm
Dave Wannstedt has been fired at Pittsburgh according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
A year after winning 10 games, Pittsburgh stumbled to a 7-5 finish after starting the season ranked No. 15. Wanny's legacy will be one of never quite getting over the top. He had some great individual players but that talent never turned into consistent success.
The Panthers won their seventh game Saturday with one of those talents, tailback Dion Lewis, going for 261 yards against Cincinnati. Pittsburgh will play Kentucky Jan. 8 in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
Pittsburgh remains a plum job for the right coach. Is it too wacky to think Rich Rodriguez might pursue the opening if he is canned at Michigan? He'd only have to go to West Virginia once every two years.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 6:14 pm
The BCS exclusionary?
Not today with 22.5 percent of Division I-A still eligible for BCS bowls. That's the conclusion after reading a BCS press release Tuesday afternoon. The BCS released its list of teams still under consideration for the five elite bowls. In addition to the 19 teams contending for automatic berths by winning their conference there are still eight teams being considered for at-large berths.
No. 11 (in the BCS) Alabama, 9-2. Eliminated from the SEC, the Tide could get in the conversation by beating Auburn.
No. 21 Arizona, 7-3. A longshot even if the Wildcats beat Oregon this week.
No. 12 Arkansas, 9-2. The LSU game is a playoff to stay alive in the BCS.
No. 4 Boise, 10-0. Let's be honest, if the Broncos don't win out they're not going to a BCS bowl.
No. 5 LSU, 10-1. The highest-ranked one-loss team would seem to be in if it beats Arkansas.
No. 19 Nevada, 10-1. Another longshot even with a win over Boise on Friday.
No. 20 Utah, 9-2. Consecutive losses to TCU and Notre Dame doomed the Utes.
No. 3 TCU, 11-0. The Frogs are nervous. If they are passed by Boise for the No. 3 spot, their BCS bowl chances are in jeopardy.
To be eligible for an at-large berth, a team must finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings. For a non-A.Q. (automatic qualifier) conference champion to get into a BCS bowl it must finish in the top 12. (Top 16 if it is ranked higher than a champion from a power conference.) Only the highest-ranked non-A.Q. meeting those parameters is guaranteed a spot in the BCS.
What's amazing is that there are 19 teams still alive for automatic berths:
ACC: Florida State, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Auburn, BCS, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise, Florida State, LSU, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-10, Pac-10, Pittsburgh, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Syracuse, TCU, Texas A&M, UConn, Utah, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:40 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2010 2:48 pm
Much credit to Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer for the work on these Joe Paterno statistics: As JoePa pursues win No. 401 Saturday at Ohio State , it's worth noting how he won a significant portion of his first 400. For the first 27 years of his head coaching career, Penn State played as an independent. The Nittany Lions regularly faced these six Eastern independents -- West Virginia, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Pittsburgh and Boston College .
The Suspect Six weren't exactly national powers, at least they weren't against Paterno. Penn State was 112-14-1 against those schools before joining the Big Ten. Throw in the service academies -- Army, Navy and Air Force were especially devastated during the Vietnam War -- and Joe was 130-16-1. Those 130 victories before joining the Big Ten account for more than half of his wins as an independent and 32.5 percent of his total victories ...
Who keeps track of this stuff? Michigan can win its 300th all-time game in November against Purdue ... Two backup quarterbacks go at it in Atlanta. Miami freshman Stephen Morris led a last-minute win over Maryland last week. Georgia Tech goes with sophomore Tevin Washington who replaces Josh Nesbitt , out with a broken arm ... With a win over Kent State , Army (5-4) assures that all three service academies are bowl eligible ... Syracuse (6-3 heading to Rutgers) is one of just nine I-A teams with four road wins ...
This is where playing I-AAs becomes a liability. Arizona State (4-5) must win its final three games to become bowl eligible. The Sun Devils played two I-AAs and now must sweep Stanford, UCLA and Arizona ... SEC teams are averaging 31 points per game, the most since expansion in 1992 ... Vanderbilt has attempted four field goals and 72 punts ... The Big East has no bowl eligible teams. At this point last year it had three.
Posted on: October 21, 2010 5:33 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 11:10 am
BCS bowl projections halfway through the season:
BCS championship: Oregon* vs. Alabama*
Notes: Oregon and Alabama win out to advance to the championship game. Alabama beats both LSU and Auburn assuring that there will be no undefeated teams in the SEC. It then beats the SEC East champion to advance. Despite one loss, it vaults over undefeated Boise, the TCU/Utah winner and perhaps even Oregon. It doesn't matter for the Ducks who stay in the top two because undefeated Boise, Utah/TCU can't catch it in the BCS standings. Meanwhile, other current undefeateds Auburn, LSU, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Missouri also lose locking in Oregon. Alabama would be playing for the first back-to-back national championship since Nebraska in the 1990s. Oregon would be playing for its first.
--The Fiesta Bowl would gladly welcome Nebraska which it hasn't had since 2000. West Virginia would be making a second trip to the Valley of the Sun in four years.
--The Orange Bowl gets one of its more intriguing matchups as Florida State returns to the big time returning to a BCS bowl for the first time since 2005. Ohio State has to settle for an at-large berth after failing to win a sixth consecutive Big Ten title. The Buckeyes return to the Orange for the first time since 1977.
--The Sugar is filled with two at-large participants. Oklahoma returns to New Orleans for the first time since the 2004 (2003 season) national championship game loss to LSU.
Oregon set the school season scoring record Thursday in the season's seventh game. The Ducks have 386 points and are averaging more than 55 points per game ... Strange how two Big Ten programs defined themselves by invoking Vince Lombardi this week. First Minnesota AD Joel Maturi said, "It's not like he would be replacing Vince Lombardi," of the new coach after firing Tim Brewster. Then Rich Rodriguez said this about his struggling defense: "Listen, Vince Lombardi could come too and [it's] not going to fix some of the problems we have on defense." ... Ohio State (at Minnesota) hasn't lost consecutive games since 2004 ... TCU has lost one fumble this season ... Texas A&M has lost 12 consecutive televised games dating back to 2008. The Aggies play at Kansas Saturday on Fox Sports Net ...
In this Week of the Head Shot in the NFL, it's interesting to note that Arkansas' Ryan Mallett was knocked out of Saturday's game with a concussion. He practiced Tuesday and will play Saturday against Mississippi ... The last six Auburn-LSU games have been decided by six points or less ... Mississippi State is ranked for the first time in nine years ... Until BYU kicked a field goal in Saturday's 31-3 loss, TCU had not allowed a point in almost three games -- 175 minutes, 10 seconds. A third straight complete shutout would have marked the first time in college football since Boston College in 1992.
Tags: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Big Ten, Boise State, Boston College, BYU, Fiesta Bowl, Florida, Florida State, Fresno State, Iowa, Kansas, LSU, Michigan State, Minnesota, Minnesota, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Orange Bowl, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-10, Penn State, Rose Bowl, Rutgers, SMU, Sugar Bowl, TCU, Temple, Texas A&M, Troy, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 8, 2010 1:29 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2010 9:06 am
Judgment time: More than half of Division I-A (61 teams) will reach the halfway point of the regular season having played six games after this week. The season reaches its official halfway point after the games of Oct. 16. Seven weeks down, seven weeks to go on the college football calendar ...
Strangely, the end of Saturday's LSU-Tennessee game was similar to the conclusion of the Fifth Down, at least in the confusion category. If you're looking for link between the two it's LSU third-string quarterback Chase McCartney. Chase is the grandson of former Colorado coach Bill McCartney who was the Buffs' coach against Missouri 20 years ago. Missouri and CU meet for the final time as Big 12 opponents Saturday in Columbia ... What's the big deal about Turner Gill's curfew which doesn't allow Kansas players to see women after 10 p.m. during the season? With all the mistreatment of women in sports, this is a bold, positive step. The alternative is Florida (30 arrests in six years). Gill was asked if his curfew would hurt recruiting. "I guess it could. But we can explain it. It's not that big a deal." The Jayhawks host Kansas State on Thursday ...
Sometimes you just feel pity. Purdue (2-2 going to Northwestern) has lost its quarterback (Robert Marve), best receiver (Keith Smith) and top running back (Ralph Bolden) to season-ending injuries ... Penn State is 114th in red zone offense, worst among BCS conference schools ... Florida State (25) and Miami (17) are 1-2 nationally in sacks. Best of luck to Jacory Harris and Christian Ponder ... Baylor (4-1 vs. Texas Tech at the Cotton Bowl) is trying for consecutive wins away from Waco for the first time since 1996 ...
Stay away from this trend, gamblers. Toledo is 0-2 at home but 3-0 on the road heading to ... Boise. Oh no. ... What's your deal? USC will try to stay within 34 (margin of loss in last year's meeting) when it travels to Stanford ... Who needs BYU in the Mountain West for BCS strength? The Cougars (1-4 and hosting San Diego State) are off to their worst start since 1973 ... UNLV (at West Virginia) hasn't played in the Eastern Time Zone since 2004 ...
WAC commissioner Karl Benson is the latest source to want coaches' poll ballots made public. His former school, Boise State, was jumped last week in both polls by Oregon. "My guess is that there are coaches who voted Boise State in double-digits," Benson said. "Boise State, unlike any other team in the country, has won the games that they're supposed to win."
Benson brought into question the process which was further muddied by New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker, whose team lost to Boise 59-0 last week. Walker wasn't sure if he had a coaches' poll (he doesn't), but "I usually let my assistant coaches handle that stuff." Let's hope he never gets a vote ...